Panel bans marijuana possession, ads at Las Vegas airport
Posted September 6
LAS VEGAS — Recreational marijuana may be legal in Nevada, but add McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to the list of places including casinos where pot is still banned.
Clark County commissioners have banned marijuana possession and advertising at the airport in a vote Tuesday that raised the possibility travelers leaving town with less than an ounce could get a ticket and have their marijuana confiscated.
If federal Transportation Security Administration screeners find pot at security stations, they can alert Las Vegas police, officials said. Violators could face a misdemeanor charge or civil fines.
The decision keeps airport rules consistent with Federal Aviation Administration rules that consider marijuana an illegal substance, officials said.
Commissioner Jim Gibson called it a victory for common sense.
Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis was assigned to set the amounts for civil fines.
Possessing more than an ounce of marijuana is still a felony.
The nation's eighth-busiest airport by passenger traffic boasts liquor stores amid coffee, gift and other retail shops lining pedestrian areas that see more than 47 million travelers annually.
Questions about marijuana advertising at the airport have vexed commissioners who oversee the Las Vegas Strip and other county airports.
The new ordinance applies to fixed signs and electronic screen displays in the bustling baggage claim area at McCarran. It also applies to mobile billboards, which must obtain permits to operate on airport property.
Commissioners decided the ad ban won't apply to the advertising vinyl-wrapped taxis and personal vehicles picking up or dropping off airport passengers.
Recreational marijuana use became legal in Nevada on Jan. 1, and retail sales of recreational pot began July 1. But the federal Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance.
The Nevada Gaming Commission recently made clear that marijuana won't be allowed in Nevada casinos as long as it remains illegal at a federal level.